The phone rang long enough to make Jake more nervous than he already was. He paced back and forth in his kitchen muttering that Craig better pick up his phone or he was gonna kick his. . . The other side finally picked up.

“Yello, what’s up bro?” Craig asked over the phone.

“I need your help” Jake quickly spat out.

Craig paused for a moment and stuttered.

“Uh… give me a sec. I’m busy” he stated.

“I can’t wait a second. I need help now!” Jake retorted quickly.

“Okay. Okay. Okay. Sheez. Hold on.” Craig moved to another room as evidenced by the rustling and grunts that Jake heard over the phone.

“Alright,” Craig continued “what’s the emergency?”

Jake glanced down at his watch while pacing even faster in his kitchen.

“I met a girl.”

“That… doesn’t exactly sound like an emergency, buddy.” Craig said with a chuckle in his voice.

“You know. At first, I would have agreed with you. But, I was talking with this girl more and more. And, things started to really click with her. And, dude, she’s beautiful…” Jake started.

“Whoa. Busting out the B-word? She’s not hot? She’s beautif — ?“

“Exactly.” Jake cut Craig off.

“Wow. This really is an emergency, isn’t it?” Craig said with a hint of exasperation.

“That’s not even the worst of it…” Jake said, a tone of defeat wavered in his voice.

“What could possibly be worse?” Craig asked.

“Well, it’s” Jake looked down at his watch, “quarter till seven and I agreed to a dinner date with her at seven.”

“Oookay. And? Where are you taking her?” Craig asked, looking for the problem.

“That’s the thing. I’m not taking her anywhere. She’s coming over here.” Jake responded.

“Where’s here?” Craig continued asking.

“Where do you think?! My place!” Jake said, starting to get shorter and shorter with his temper.

“Alright, bro. Chill. Everything will be cool. You gonna order in?” Craig said, trying to get down to a solution.

“No. Can’t.”

“What do you mean you can’t?” Craig questioned.

“I mean I can’t order in.” Jake responded.

“Yeah, you can. You just pick up the phone. You’re doing it now! Just grab some pizza and watch some movies on your computer. That’s always turns out great.” Jake could practically hear Craig winking and nudging him over the phone.

“I can’t do that because I told her I cook.” Jake said, finally coming to terms with what he had done to himself.

“Why the hell would you go and do something stupid like that?” Craig prodded in disbelief.

“Because I met her in a coffee shop. And, we started talking about food. And, everything was going great. And, I could see that she was really starting to fall for me. She even laughed at the butcher joke I always tell…” Jake started up on another rant.

“Oh God. Not the butcher joke.” Craig muttered under his breath.

“And, she started talking about all the pastries that they had and how she liked them. And, I somehow started talking about the sandwiches and then boom. She asked if I cooked. And, stupid me, to close the deal, said I love to cook. I cook all the time!” Jake ranted while slowly banging his head against the cabinet in his kitchen.

“Wow…” Craig responded while letting out a long sigh.

“What?” Jake asked with a tone of despair.

“You really dug your grave pretty deep. This really is an emergency…” Craig commented while thinking of all the possible outcomes. “How long do you have until she shows up?”

Jake glanced down at his watch again.

“Oh man! Only 10 minutes!” He said as his body contorted in agony.

“Okay. What…uh… what does she like?” Craig asked, trying to smooth over the whole situation.

“That makes this whole situation even better.” Jake continued with another rant.

“Jeez. Now what?” Craig asked while wincing next to his phone.

“She’s a vegetarian.” Jake let out in a sigh.

Craig laughed for a solid minute.

“How… in the hell… are you going to pull this off?!” Craig continued while trying to speak between laughs.

“That’s why I called you, buddy.” Jake said, now defeated.

“Okay. Hmm. What all do you have in the fridge?” Craig asked, finally getting down to business.

Jake sauntered over to his beat up fridge and pulled the handle to reveal mostly empty shelves. He glanced around the barren fridge for a few more moments before responding.

“Uh. I have some… ham. Turkey. Bacon. Ketchup.” he listed, while taking inventory. He grabbed a bottle off the shelf on the door “the mustard went bad…” he squinted “two months ago.”

Both Jake and Craig gagged slightly.

“Oh, here we go.” He reached down and pulled out the drawer on the bottom of the fridge.

“Did you hit the jackpot?” Craig excitedly asked.

“Not really. There’s uh…” Jake grabbed the thin plastic bags from the supermarket. He rummaged around a little bit more.

“There’s uh…?” Craig asked, mocking Jake.

“Shut up.” Jake said, trying to focus. “I got peppers, onions, some purple stuff, some green stuff…”

“You don’t even know what all you have there?” Craig smirked.

“No. I don’t. It’s not all mine. Some of it’s yours.” Jake said, tersely.

“You should really broaden your palate, bro.”

“My mom always said the same thing. And yet, I’m still alive and thriving.” Jake replied.

“Let’s just settle for alive, right now.” Craig jabbed.

Jake frowned.

Craig took a deep breath before stepping his best friend through his plan.

“Look. Just chop everything up nicely. Throw it in a bowl together. Make it look nice and colorful. Presentation is ninety percent of cooking anyways. Tell her you saw this recipe on some vegan website. And, everything should go well!” he stated.

“Alright. Thanks, man.”

Jake began chopping all the veggies and finally relaxed. With the last veggies in the bowl, he let out a long sigh and heard a knock on the door.

Showtime.

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